A Better Period
There’s a lot of buzz about menstrual cups and it is not hard to see why. An eco-friendly alternative to other period products, a menstrual cup doesn’t dry out the vagina like tampons do, they contain no bleach or harmful substances, they’re reusable, eco-friendly and don’t create any waste. AND they’re cheaper in the long run. With that in mind, the women at TNM tried and tested Meri Cup from Marie Stopes International, one of the best menstrual cups available in Nepal.
On average, women spend 65 days in the year dealing with menstrual blood flow. True, there are tons of products available to make those days a little easier, but after using Meri cup, I most definitely am going to suggest it to every woman I pass by. But if you’re new to this, you’re probably wondering, what a menstrual cup actually is. Fret not, this review covers everything from its quality to using method.
A menstrual cup is a small cup made from flexible and body-friendly silicone which you insert into your vagina instead of using a tampon or pad. It sits just below your cervix and collects any blood or lining you lose for up to 12 hours. The main difference between a tampon and a period cup is that the cup collects your blood, whereas the tampon absorbs it.
When it comes to menstrual cups, a lot of people talk about finding your ‘Goldilocks cup’, the one that fits you just right.
Meri Cup is the perfect place to start your search because it falls into the middle of the pack when it comes to firmness, size, and shape, so it’s easy to fold for insertion, but also pops open easily and stays open inside of you.
Every beginning can be difficult— including trying a menstrual cup for the first time. However, I can assure you, there’s nothing to fear. It may take you a few days or a few periods to become comfortable with the cup.
Before using your Meri Cup for the first time, you should sterilise the cup in boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Remember not to let the cup touch the bottom of the pot.
Inserting the Meri Cup
The trick to inserting a menstrual cup is by folding it the way that works best for you. There are many different folding techniques so experiment and find the right one. Two of the most popular methods are: The Punch-Down Fold and The C-Fold. When you’re inserting your menstrual cup, you need to keep it folded until it is inside of your vagina. It is important to relax your muscles when inserting your menstrual cup, so find a comfortable position. You can lie down, squat, sit on the toilet or simply stand up. You’ll find the position that works best for you over time!
Insert the folded menstrual cup and once the entire cup is inside of you, simply remove your fingers and let it pop open. If the menstrual cup has been inserted correctly, you might hear a ‘pop’ or a suction sound which means that the cup has folded out completely and created the necessary suction seal. If you’re in doubt, reach in and feel around the base of the cup—it should feel round or oval and not have any noticeable folds. If you feel any dents or folds on the base of your menstrual cup and you’re not quite sure the suction seal has been created, then gently grip the base of the cup (not the stem), and rotate it to make it unfold. Once your menstrual cup is in place, try to pull the stem a bit, if you feel resistance, the suction seal has been created and the cup has been placed successfully!
In comparison with a tampon, the menstrual cup should be placed lower in the vaginal canal. The stem should be completely inside of you. However, we’re all built differently and if the stem pokes out and annoys you, you can trim it.
One of the benefits of using Meri Cup is that you can use it for up to 12 hours at a time, so once inserted you can leave your cup in all day—and night. Depending on how heavy your flow is, you may have to empty it more often than twice a day. That’s why, we recommend that you empty your Meri Cup more often in the beginning to get to know the cup and your flow.
Removing the Meri Cup
Being relaxed is essential as removing your Meri Cup will only be more difficult if you tense up. When removing it, pull slightly on the stem while using your abdominal muscles to push the cup downwards until you can reach the base. Give the base of the cup a gentle pinch (or insert your index finger alongside it) to release the suction and ease it out. Avoid removing your menstrual cup by pulling the stem as this might cause discomfort.
Emptying and washing
Once you have removed your menstrual cup, you should empty the collected fluid into the toilet or sink and rinse the cup with water (remember the air holes) and re-insert. If you’re in a bathroom without access to clean water, you can use a toilet paper to clean your cup and rinse it with water at a later time.
Are menstrual cups better for you?
While pads and tampons are very commonly used, they do hold some possible risks that menstrual cups just don’t have. Most pads and tampons are treated with chemicals to bleach the cotton and even contain plastic. Tampons strip your vaginal walls of its lining and soak up the healthy discharge you need to keep your body’s natural flora at the optimum levels. A menstrual cup takes the blood and leaves everything else. So, using a body-friendly cup can also reduce your risk of bacterial infections and contracting Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). Not just that, you also won’t have to worry about embarrassing menstrual odor wafting out at the most inopportune times, since the fluid doesn’t get exposed to air as it does with pads and tampons.
Disadvantages of Using a Menstrual Cup
Unfortunately, there are some disadvantages to using a menstrual cup as well. For one thing, they’re messier than pads and tampons, since they require you emptying and cleaning the menstrual cup by hand. Some people experience problems with inserting and removing the cup, but it usually just requires a little bit of time to get used to the process. Depending on your anatomy and vaginal comfort level, you may experience more discomfort using a menstrual cup than a pad or tampon.
The best menstrual cup for you will probably depend on what your internal vagina shape is like. But we’ve learned a lot about what makes a good menstrual cup aside from sizing, like material and shape, and Meri Cup sits at the top of the list. Experiment with different folding and insertion techniques and don’t worry, you’ll soon become a dedicated cup convert!
MERI CUP BEGINNER TIPS
Wear a panty liner until you feel comfortable
Until you feel 100 percent comfortable with your menstrual cup, you might want to wear a panty liner so you don’t have to worry about leaking.
Try to locate your cervix
We all have differently positioned cervixes and the cup should be placed below the cervix, if not, it will most likely leak. Try to locate your cervix with your finger, you should feel for a slightly firmer area of tissue and position your cup under it.
Trim the stem of the cup
If you can feel the stem and find it uncomfortable after a couple of tries, you can cut it shorter. However, do not trim the stem while the menstrual cup is inserted!
Practice before your period
No one expects you to be an instant menstrual cup pro, so we recommend you practice inserting and removing your cup before you get your period.
You can use water or a water-based lubricant to make insertion easier.
To order your Meri Cup, contact 16600119756 or 9851202816 (Viber)
- Small (19 ml), Large (24 ml)
- Material: Silicon
- Length: 51 mm
- Diameter: 45 mm
- Meri Cups are made from 100 percent medical-grade soft silicone and are free from plastics, latex, toxins and bleaches
Text by TNM
Photos by Royal Raj Manandhar